Radio Australia and the election

6 05 2011

In a story-interview about Thailand’s forthcoming election, this exchange between interviewer Karen Snowden and the ANU’s Andrew Walker caught PPT’s eye:

SNOWDON: The dissolving of parliament ahead of setting the election date was expected this week, but has been delayed. Andrew Walker says most commentators still expect the election to be held by July and constitutionally it must be held by the end of the year — but nothing is certain yet.

WALKER: This is Thai politics and nothing can be relied on here. And we need to remember that there are some powerful forces in Thailand that would rather that an election doesn’t go ahead because they’re worried that the political allies of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will win the election. In particular there’s many very powerful and very senior people in the army who would rather not have an election and some people have speculated that the army might try to escalate this border conflict they’re having with Cambodia so that could be used as a pretext for delaying the election.

SNOWDON: Would that be Prime Minister Abhisit’s view do you believe?

WALKER: Look its very hard to predict what Prime Minister Abhisit’s view is. He’s obviously very concerned his party won’t win the election. He’s got some hopes of being able to cobble together a coalition government after the election. But the fact is that Abhisit is caught between some very powerful players. He was brought in to government with the strong backing of the military and the Palace and it’s probably the military and the Palace in Thailand who are most nervous about an election so I’m sure Abhisit is getting a lot of heat about that.

The latest news on the election seems to be that it will be announced Friday. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva says “he had yet to submit the decree on House dissolution for royal endorsement,” but had scheduled a television address for Friday.

He added that he “had made a ‘discreet inquiry’ with the Royal Palace about the appropriate time to bring the decree to the King’s attention,” and he “pointed out that on that night, a royal command had been issued approving the appointment of Senate Speaker Teeradej Meepien.” In other words, Abhisit thinks the king is up for signing off on an election decree.


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